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Mark Fahrer is a master of creative continental party food (such as baby lamb chops as hors d’oeuvre) and an old hand at international cooking (a favorite from Morocco is b’steeya—squab, nut, and raisin pie). He says he puts his psychology degree to work when he meets with clients: first assessing personality types, then customizing their menus. From $100 per person.
Mary Guiliani Catering & Events135 W. 20th St., nr. Seventh Ave., Ste. 600; 212-725-1658; marygiuliani.com
Giuliani puts a chic twist on time-honored comfort foods: She adds truffles and foie gras to grilled cheese sandwiches and transforms macaroni and cheese into a spicy Parmesan tartlet. Couples who eschew the formal sit-down dinner can opt for a chic buffet. Prices upon request.
Michael Stuart NY347-292-7456; mscnyc.com
Michael Stuart Steifman’s full-service company serves farmers’ market–inspired menus that can include beet tartare with whole-grain aïoli, eggs mimosa, baby arugula, and brioche. With the client’s permission, Steifman and his socially responsible team donate leftover food to the city’s rescue mission. Cocktails from $100 per person; seated dinner from $225, including alcohol. (ecofriendly)
Miss Elisabeth’s Catering646-476-5581; misselisabeths.com
After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, this Food Network “Chopped” champion launched her catering company with an eye on local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. An elegant feast might include pan-seared wild striped-sea bass with tarragon beurre blanc, tomato risotto and sautéed spinach, or basil-crusted filet mignon with ricotta gnocchi and ratatouille. From $150 per person. (ecofriendly)mfcatering.com
Since 1979, this caterer has planned menus that incorporate clients’ family recipes, such as Grandma’s Sicilian veal, beef, and pignoli meatballs for a homesick Italian bride. Dishes like miso-glazed sea bass and herb-crusted filet mignon with a Barolo-and-portobello-mushroom reduction abound. The attentive staff go above and beyond so the bride and groom can sit back and relax as the festivities unfold around them. From $150 per person.
Naturally Delicious Caterers and Event Planners487 Court St., nr. Nelson St., Carroll Gardens; 718-237-3727; naturallydelicious.com
This company features seasonal menus with locally grown ingredients, some of which come straight from its backyard organic garden. Founder Loren Michelle and her team work closely with couples to customize menus, which can involve everything from cocktails to full sit-down and family-style dinners. Couples can choose from a slew of multiethnic choices, comfort foods, and fusion styles. From $150 per person. (ecofriendly)
Nova Catering & Events1140 Sixth Ave., at 44th St.; 212-977-8900; novacateringco.com
Christophe Barbier’s team can handle all the particulars of a wedding, from venue selection to D.J.’s and customized menus. Whether the reception is a formal sit-down affair or a free-flowing cocktail hour, these caterers will provide an eclectic culinary array that might include hors d’oeuvre like seared ahi tuna with wasabi cream on cornbread. Prices upon request.ocnyc.com
Couples in search of artfully presented fare love the eye-pleasing dishes conjured up by these detail-oriented caterers. They specialize in New American cuisine with European and Asian influences; think truffled grilled cheese with celery-relish, seared Wagyu lollipops, and miso-glazed black cod with snow pea salad. From $250 per person.
Oysters XO917-297-5929; facebook.com/oystersxo
For a classy touch, serve up tasty aphrodisiacs during your cocktail hour with this recently launched, bivalve-focused catering company. It will provide a variety of oysters along with shuckers, known as the Oyster Girls, who walk among your guests and offer the delicacies with or without condiments. Prices based on number of guests.
Peter Callahan137-139 W. 25th St., nr. Seventh Ave., fourth fl.; 212-327-1144; pckcatering.com
He’s served gourmet feasts to the crème de la crème, but Callahan isn’t above indulging campier cravings with haute grilled cheese sandwiches and pigs in blankets (either traditional or reimagined with smoked salmon and wasabi-caviar on black bread). From $275 per person.piesnthighs.com
P-N-T serves up family- and buffet-style meals like fried chicken and biscuits, smoked brisket, seasonal sides, and their famous Southern-style pies, cookies and doughnuts. Full-service catering, including bars and staff, available. From $30 per person.(good value)
Pinch Food Design545 W. 27th St., nr. Eleventh Ave.; 212-244-7000; pinchfooddesign.com
Dynamic duo Bob Spiegel and T.J. Girard lead a team of culinary vets to deliver “food furniture” that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. Expect small bites like Brussels-sprout chips and thyme brioche toast, and hors d’oeuvre like eggplant-lamb ravioli. Prices upon request.
PS Tailored Events515 E. 89th St., nr. York Ave., Ste. 5D; 646-472-6977; pierreschaedelin.com
Formerly an executive chef at Le Cirque and the private chef to Martha Stewart, Pierre Schaedelin focuses on seasonally driven French cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Expect inventive items like a roasted lemon-thyme-marinated chicken entrée served with sweet-and-sour tomato marmalade, green asparagus, and soft corn cake. Prices start at $105 per person for a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvre and a three-course dinner.
Radish190 N. 14th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Ste. 204, Williamsburg; 718-388-5188; radishnyc.com
For the ecoconscious couple, this company offers customized menus inspired by the season that include options like grilled honeycrisp apples stuffed with apple-cider-braised pork and Tallegio cream. Hors d’oeuvres and seated dinner from $125 per person. (ecofriendly)theragingskillet.com
Couples with adventurous palates can count on this “anti-caterer” for bold dishes. Their specialty is ethnic weddings—for a Jamaican-Irish affair they served codfish fritters and cheddar macaroni and cheese, and for a Jewish-Korean celebration they served latkes and Korean barbecue beef. From $110 to $220 per person.
Real Food Catering55 Great Jones St., nr. Lafayette St., fourth fl.; 212-475-6623; realfoodcatering.net
This versatile company can create anything from a small gourmet seated dinner to a 350-person buffet. Worldly winter-menu choices include Peking duck mini-sandwiches, and Shanghai home-style short ribs with spicy-tofu dan dan noodles. From $125 per person for cocktails and seated dinner.
Red Table Catering205 Leonard St., nr. Grand St., Williamsburg; 917-553-5944; redtablecatering.com
These Brooklyn-based caterers specialize in hearty, home-cooked food, and are known to collaborate with couples to prepare their favorite dishes and family recipes. They recently created a customized South American tapas menu that included rocoto relleno with melted cheese and saffron-manchego croquettes. From $150 per person.robbinswolfe.com
Whether you’re going for a haute Hamptons tent gala or an offbeat downtown smorgasbord, these pros can nail it. They specialize in classics with a twist, as evinced by iconoclastic dishes like surf and turf of grilled marinated Montauk striped bass and braised beef short ribs. From $150 to $300 per person.robertaspizza.com
This Brooklyn favorite creates custom wedding menus based on ingredients available on East Coast farms. They have catered casual North Fork weddings, traditional multicourse dinners at the Green Building in Gowanus, several on-site garden weddings featuring wine-paired dinners, and even pig roasts. Pizza parties from $20 per person; seated dinners from $65 per person; pig roasts and specialty parties from $75 per person. (ecofriendly / good value)
Ryan Brown Catering New York294 Third Ave., at Carroll St., Park Slope; 718-852-2575; ryanbrowncatering.com
Brown, a French Culinary Institute grad, can work with diverse budgets to plan health-focused menus that emphasize locally sourced ingredients. Reception menus feature seasonal and organic food. Highlights include the Pineland Farms beef tenderloin with mustard crust, peppercorns, and radish-herb salad served with Sheldon Farms black-truffle mashed potatoes. From $75 to $250 per person. (ecofriendly / good value)
From the Summer 2013 New York Wedding Guide